Most Israelis use, rely on Wikipedia for online info

Poll finds over half of Jewish state’s residents use online encyclopedia at least once per week, but few edit its content

Ilan Ben Zion, a reporter at the Associated Press, is a former news editor at The Times of Israel. He holds a Masters degree in Diplomacy from Tel Aviv University and an Honors Bachelors degree from the University of Toronto in Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations, Jewish Studies, and English.

Typing on a computer (Sophie Gordon/Flash 90)
Typing on a computer (Sophie Gordon/Flash 90)

The vast majority of the Israeli public relies on Wikipedia for its information, and over half of Israelis use the online encyclopedia at least once a week, a poll published Sunday showed. 

The survey, conducted in May by the Panels Institute, polled 751 Israeli Jews and Arabs about their use and perspectives on the net’s sixth most-visited webpage.

According to the findings, 84 percent of respondents said they rely on the online encyclopedia for information, and 60% said they visit the website at least once a week. Almost three-quarters (74%) said the information found in Wikipedia articles provides all that they are looking for, and they don’t need additional resources.

Only 4% of Israeli respondents said they didn’t recognize Wikipedia and had never used it. Of the remaining 96%, not one said that Wikipedia wasn’t useful.

Hebrew Wikipedia logo
Hebrew Wikipedia logo

The Hebrew-language Wikipedia page is among those which have over 100,000 entries, as is the Arabic-language version of the site.

The findings also showed that not many Israelis were avid Wikipedia editors, but over half were familiar with the fact that the articles were open for anyone to edit. A mere 8% of respondents had ever edited a Wikipedia article, even though 20% encountered information they deemed in need of amending.

The ability to edit pages means that contentious issues often undergo thousands of changes as sides tussle over various facts.

Three of the site’s 100 most edited entries deal with Israel, according to an analysis published Friday.

According to the website FiveThirtyEight, the 2006 Second Lebanon War is the 20th most edited topic, Israel itself is at 57 on the list, and Israel’s 2008 war with Gaza clocks in at number 93.

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